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Spurs experts look for the upside to Sherwood at Aston Villa

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Tim Sherwood has become the go-to name for someone to replace Paul Lambert as the manager of Aston Villa. After Spurs fans were so adamant that Villa shouldn't hire him, I asked some people who write about Tottenham all the time to talk a bit about Sherwood. You can read part one detailing why Villa shouldn't hire Sherwood, but here I tried to get our trio from Cartilage Free Captain to look a bit at Sherwood's redeeming qualities.

It seems that a lot of the problems Sherwood had with Tottenham came from favoring players he'd coached in the youth system. If he moves, do you think that becomes less of an issue?

Dustin Gerber Martin: [See below.]

Michael Caley: If there is one thing that Tim Sherwood deserves credit for, it is his use of youth players. It was Sherwood who handed Harry Kane the starts that allowed him to first demonstrate his elite talent at getting into goal-scoring positions. He also identified Nabil Bentaleb as a PL-quality central midfielder. The complaints about his use of youth players ring hollow in light of Kane's emergence as a star and Bentaleb's first-choice status in the Tottenham XI. If you do end up stuck with Tim Sherwood, the one bright spot is that you can hope he'll help bring along some good young players for the next time you have a competent manager.

Skipjack: I think the reason he started guys like Bentaleb and Kane has less to do with them being youth players and more to do with him being familiar with them and being sure they wouldn't ignore his instructions. So given his lack of familiarity with players in the Villa youth squad I'm not sure if he'll favor them in the same way he did at Tottenham. Also, it seems like Sherwood had a pretty good youth squad to work with at Spurs and was able to give minutes to 2 players on the cusp on being starters. I'm not sure if that exists on Villa and I'm not sure if he'll be able to spot them without working in their academy.

Can you say anything good about Sherwood?

Dustin: These two questions bleed together for me. If there's one thing I give full credit to Tim Sherwood for, it's that he gave the youth players a chance to establish themselves in the first team. AVB was notorious for virtually ignoring Spurs' youth players, either burying them in the development squad or sending them out on pointless loans. Tim Sherwood gave first team opportunities to both Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb, and both have (obviously) made the most of their opportunities and are nailed-on starters in Pochettino's first 11. This nearly backfired with Bentaleb - Nabil got a lot of abuse from Spurs fans in those early games from supporters who derided him as "Sherwood's pet," enough that Sherwood actually yanked him from the lineup to "protect him." Most of those supporters have shut up now that Nabil's a full Algerian international and started in the World Cup. It was calculated risk at the time, and it ended up working out beautifully.

Ben Daniels wrote a nice article about this (Tim Sherwood is a backstabbing monster and he saved Tottenham Hotspur) that illustrates it better than I ever could.

The flip side of this argument is that Tim intimately knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Tottenham Hotspur youth squads, because his role was to work with them at Spurs. If he moves to Villa he won't have that knowledge to build upon, at least not right away. If you do have bright stars in your academy, though, it's likely that Sherwood will give them a chance to shine, especially if things aren't going well. That's something that Tim does well and I give him full credit where credit is due.

Michael: See above. He also introduced me to the fact that the English distinguish two kinds of vests, one worn with a suit and called a "vest" and another worn as outerwear called a "gilet." Saying "gilet" is enjoyable.

Skipjack: He was willing to give youth players a shot. His reasons and rationale might have been completely screwed up, but this is a thing that he did. And Spurs are reaping the benefits of it today. Whether he actually knew what he was doing is anyone's guess.


My deepest thanks to Dustin, Michael, and Skipjack for taking the time to write a bit about a man they'd all rather forget. Be sure to check out Cartilage Free Captain for more of their excellent writing. And while you're here: what do you think of Sherwood now? Are you willing to overlook the naysayers and take a chance or do you want to steer clear?